March 13, 2020 is a date every student will remember forever — on this day, the districts all around the world closed their schools due to the deadly virus spreading rapidly that is known as COVID-19.
Primarily, the closure was only supposed to last for about two weeks. Those two weeks turned into a month, and the month turned into the rest of the school year.
Up until today, the Granger High School students have not been able to return to the building for in person teaching. Instead, they are at home practicing distance learning. This new change has brought many complications to the newcomers.
Here at the high school, there are a couple new teachers this year. Since students have not been able to go back into the building, many have yet to meet the new staff. This itself has made it nearly impossible for the teachers to be able to create that one-on-one connection with their students.
The new civics teacher, Michael Scheel speaks on this matter saying, “It’s rough because I like to get people to smile and laugh and it’s kind of hard not to do that because I don’t get to see your guys’ faces.”
Scheel talks about his feelings towards distance learning. In the Google meetings that take place, many students — if not all — barely ever turn on their cameras and participate in the virtual classes.
Scheel goes on to express how this is rough since he cannot see his students face to face. Not only is this complicated for the new teachers but also for the freshmen being as it is their first year in a new building and many are unfamiliar with the new staff and the upperclassmen.
Speaking to a current freshman, Lexani Valdez goes on to say, “When upperclassmen are present it’s pretty scary, so I participate less.” Valdez shares her feelings when having to participate in a class with a mixture of grade levels. She feels more comfortable when she is familiar with her peers.
Due to this change, many new students and teachers are unable to feel comfortable when teaching and learning.
The high school is hoping to switch into hybrid learning after winter break but are still uncertain if it will be possible.
The Yakima Valley is still not out of the woods just yet, but many are hoping for a decrease in COVID-19 cases.